Despite stocking a well-documented number of skeletons in his closet, not the least of which were a high-profile corruption scandal, accusations of sexual assault, and a bizarre brownface fetish, Justin Trudeau is slated to continue as Canada’s prime minister for the next couple of years with a stronger-than-expected minority government. Here are a few reasons why he might have pulled off this unlikely win.
The Tide of History
Trudeau went into the election cycle with a majority government. It is rare for a majority government to be removed from power altogether after serving only one term. In fact, this has occurred only twice in all of Canadian history. While the litany of scandals that plagued Trudeau made it more likely that he would reach third-place on that list, his numbers on voter opinion polls often remained remarkably close to those of his opponents, guaranteeing that this election would not buck the trend. And I’m sure Barack Obama’s endorsement didn’t hurt.
A Weak Opponent
Speaking of opinion polls, one person that the voters did not have that high an opinion of was the Conservative Party leader, Andrew Scheer, Trudeau’s chief competitor for the prime ministerial position. Despite being prominently known as a social conservative, Scheer chose to play down those credentials, perhaps in the hope of appealing to more centrist voters. The instantiation of this cautious attitude, however, often involved refusing to provide direct answers regarding his personal views in debates and press conferences, a move that made him appear more spineless than strategic to voters.
In addition, while other parties ran on hot-button issues like climate change, immigration, and standing up to Donald Trump, Scheer and the Conservatives stayed far from these issues, choosing to run their campaign focusing solely on affordability. Clearly, Canadians weren’t impressed.
It is worth noting that the Conservatives did win the popular vote by a small margin, although that means nothing in an election based solely on the total number of seats won.
Liberals Voting Smart, Conservatives Voting Values
It is a common adage among Canadians that a strong New Democratic Party is good for the Conservatives. Founded by Tommy Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland’s grandfather, the NDP is Canada’s socialist party that, while often enjoying popular support, has never formed federal government. Instead, a strong NDP is said to split votes on the left, taking farther-left-leaning votes away from the liberals and giving the Conservatives an advantage.
This year, the NDP were expected to put up a strong showing under the leadership of the undeniably charismatic Jagmeet Singh. Contrary to expectations, however, the NDP performed poorly. A suspected reason is that liberal voters disenchanted with Trudeau realized that a vote for the NDP would result in a weakened Liberal Party decided to stick with the Liberals for the sole purpose of preventing a Conservative government forming.
A similar shift in the opposite direction might have happened for the Conservatives. Seeing Scheer’s weakness in standing up for conservative values on issues like immigration, some conservative voters decided to vote for the newly-formed People’s Party of Canada, which promised comprehensive immigration reform, while also leaving the door open for pro-life legislation. Unfortunately, the PPC failed to win a single seat in parliament, but might have succeeded in taking votes away from the Conservatives in ridings that they closely lost to the Liberals.
Signs of Hope?
“But it is only a minority government,” you might say, “And minority governments can’t be all that stable, can they?”
That is generally true, since Canadian minority governments usually don’t last for more than a couple of years. This ‘progressive’ government, however, looks rather stable. Given their poor showing at the federal level, the NDP will not want to face another election any time soon. Instead, the prudent way forward would be to cooperate with the Trudeau government. Trudeau, on the other hand, knowing that he will get no cooperation from the Conservatives, could use NDP (and Green and Bloc Québécois) votes to get his legislation passed in parliament. This kind of cooperation might ensure that Trudeau has a very stable few years ahead.
This cooperative partnership among left-leaning parties might also entail that future policies will move farther to the left, if that is even possible. Given the need to cooperate with Canada’s socialist, left-nationalist, and radical environmentalist parties, whatever centrism is left in the ‘centrist’ Liberal Party will go out the window, leaving nothing but radical progressivism in its wake.
In short, Canadian conservatives would be wise to prepare for a rough few years ahead.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.